Dozens of worshippers put on their face masks and sanitised their hands to attend a Covid-safe midnight mass on Christmas eve in Abu Dhabi.
Strict safety protocols were in place at St Paul’s Church in Abu Dhabi's industrial area of Mussafah, where devotees had to register in advance to attend mass.
Church officials said they were able to keep the doors open as a result of “very strong support” from the government and the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi.
Seats were fully booked for Mass at St Paul's Church with 350 parishioners registering for each service through Thursday and Friday.
“This is not even 20 per cent of our usual congregation but we are grateful to come together for Christmas that brings us the message of hope and love,” said Fr Maxim Cardoza, a priest at the catholic church.
“The pandemic has been such a stressful, difficult time and people have struggled. We hope with the vaccinations, there is new hope coming for all of us.”
More than 18,000 people booked places at 64 services at St Joseph’s Church in Abu Dhabi over three days from Thursday.
Many church services across the country will also be held on Zoom.
The video calling service – which has rose to prominence during the pandemic – will also help keep families connected even if separated by thousands of miles.